Tuesday, 22 April 2014

recipe: iced raspberry leaf tea!


These days I've been really drawn to herbs a lot more than I ever used to, especially herbal teas. I've just felt the need to really explore the many healing properties that they contain and one that I have been really loving is raspberry leaf.

Those who know me, know that I am incredibly passionate about pregnancy, {natural} childbirth, and anything related to the reproductive realm of women's health. I love the reproductive system! It's just so amazing. In the future I will share a lot more on this topic as becoming a doula is a huge goal of mine (and having children).

Anywho, I have been drinking this wonderful herb because it is a uterine tonic and although is traditionally used during pregnancy to strengthen and prepare the uterus and pelvic muscles for childbirth, it is also a wonderful herb to take at any stage of our life to nourish our reproductive system (which is essentially what I drink it for, as I'm not pregnant!) It is helpful for cramps (something I have always dealt with) and other premenstrual related complaints. Also, it is rich in different vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and magnesium, which is my very favourite mineral.

There is something about drinking herbal teas that just feel so good in our bodies, especially when our intention with a chosen herb is to heal or simply nourish a certain part of our body. Raspberry leaf tea has a very delicate taste similar to regular tea (but is caffeine free) and can of course be simply taken as tea, or this lovely iced tea I created that I wanted to share!

Herbal teas are great for hydration as well, so long as they are caffeine free!

  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 2 teabags (if you like stronger tea, add another teabag)
  • 1 tbsp raw, unpasteurized honey (if you like it sweeter, add more)
  • squeeze of half a lemon
  • ice

Bring water to a boil, remove from heat and steep teabags for 15 mins. Add honey. Pour into container of choice (I store mine in a 1L mason jar). Refrigerate until chilled. Serve with ice.

Iced tea is so refreshing and is perfect for spring and summer. Simply double this recipe if you'd like to have a larger batch to store in a juice jug.

~ Meghan

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

recipe: banana berry mash with goat yogurt


I love simplicity when it comes to the food I eat. There is something about minimal, wholesome ingredients that feel so good in our bodies, that feel so good for our digestion. I wanted to share one of my most favourite breakfasts that I threw together a couple years ago and has remained my easy breakfast go-to ever since. I love this recipe with plain yogurt and just the fresh fruit to sweeten it.

Ingredients
  • 1 ripe banana
  • small handful raspberries, or your favourite berry (I often use frozen)
  • a few generous dollops of plain organic goat yogurt
Mash banana and berries, and add yogurt on top. You can also play around with a spoonful of hemp seeds or other nutty toppings for added crunch and heartiness.

Over the past few days I have been absolutely craving yogurt (Greek yogurt to be exact). I don't generally eat dairy, or recommend it overall, as it is generally more acidifying and allergenic but I find it interesting and important when my body has such unique cravings, so I like to give way to them (unless of course it is something a little more excessive, like this delicious gluten-free, entirely sugar-laden brownie I ate yesterday...) When I do eat dairy I like goat milk products. Goat milk is more compatible with the human digestive system and so is tolerated much better by a lot of people, even those who are sensitive to cow milk. Another nice option is kefir, a fermented milk product that is rich in probiotics - good bacteria. Kefir is nice with fruit like this breakfast, too.

Enjoy!
Meg

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

inspired


I am feeling so inspired these days, and I think it's due to me finally beginning to find balance in my busy schedule and the weather finally warming up after a very long, exhausting winter. April has graciously gifted us with rain, sunny afternoons and melted snow.

I'm finding it hard to focus on anything other than the creative goals and dreams that I have, and wanting to water them, and grow them, and harvest them. Even pertaining to my blog and wanting to just share authentically has got me very excited these days. The word grace has been dancing around my mind very much lately and I am thinking of incorporating it into a new name for this blog.

The photo above is from yesterday evening. Beyond the fence the sun was setting and it left a muted, fiery glow against the trees. It has been simple things such as this lately that have left me feeling whole, connected, good. It feels good to feel good. Especially when the grey, unending winter robs you of such simple pleasures. Like blooms, and dew.

Tonight my love told me that he loves who I am. And that he wouldn't want me to be any other way. These words were just what I needed to hear, and I hold them close.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

recipe: creamy strawberry coconut-milk shake


In light of the fact that it is now spring, and gorgeous, and warm(er) outside, and I just got a Vitamix that I am so very excited about, I thought I would share with you a very most delicious smoothie that I am sure you will love just as much as I do.

This recipe is so simple, and is perfect in the morning to start your day with a belly full of hearty, fruity goodness. When choosing coconut milk for this recipe (or any time), make sure you always opt for the full-fat variety (not "lite"). Not only because the fattier, the heartier, creamier, and tastier, but because fat is so, so good for us. It is what our cell membranes are made of, along with 60% of our brain. Fat is a wonderful thing, and certainly does not make us fat! And besides, low-fat means extra processed. Stick with what comes naturally, my friends.

Ingredients


  • 3/4 cup full-fat canned coconut milk + 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 or 2 spoonfuls maple syrup, or honey
  • splash of vanilla extract

Blend and enjoy!
Meghan

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Natural Products I Use to Clean my Face


Hello friends,

I occasionally get asked what my beauty routine is or what natural beauty products I use so I thought I'd go ahead and share a few products that I use to clean my face. I'll start by saying that I keep things very simple and don't like to go overboard with all sorts of lotions and creams and makeup products. I hope these inspire you to explore the variety of natural alternatives to common beauty products that can be quite toxic.

Coconut Oil:
This is absolutely wonderful for removing eye makeup. I used to use Green Beaver's eye makeup remover but as of recently have decided to simplify further and just use straight up coconut oil. Aside from it working really well, it's naturally antibacterial and super moisturizing. It's rich in good quality saturated fats and other nutrients so it leaves the sensitive skin around the eyes super soft. Nothing beats using just one simple ingredient!

Maiga Facial Cleanser:
I love this cleanser and use it pretty much every time I'm in the shower to cleanse my face of any makeup residue. I just lather all over my face and wash off - makes my skin feel super clean and I of course love how the ingredients are simple, minimal and organic: water, shea butter, cocoa butter, aloe vera, plantain peel, palm kernel oil, coconut oil and honey.

Green Beaver Facial Moisturizer:
I always use moisturizer right after I have a shower. If your skin is cool with using just straight up oil then as a moisturizer I'd suggest using something like coconut or olive oil, however, I tend to not react too well to really rich oily oils so I like to use a facial moisturizer by Green Beaver. The ingredients are pretty simple, consisting of a blend of different oils (jojoba, avocado, olive and grape seed).


I thought I'd also add in a Facial Scrub by Maiga that I use occasionally. I am not huge into using exfoliators and this scrub is by no means a staple but I was given a free sample of this particular one and it makes my face feel so incredibly soft. I don't use it all the time but I do here and there. You can also make a homemade scrub easily with olive oil and sea salt - I'll share how to make it sometime (inspired by my wonderful coworker!)

Side note: I highly suggest you check out the cosmetic database Skin Deep on www.ewg.org that will show you the levels of toxicity in today's common products.

With love,
Meghan

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

3 Foods to Help Balance Hormones!


Want to know a superfood that I've been loving lately? Maca. It's really super and I'm definitely going to have to make an entirely separate blog post/video on why it's so wonderful, but for today I'm adding it to my list that I'll be sharing on 3 foods that help balance hormones.

Unfortunately due to the abundance of various stressors, toxins, chemicals and endocrine disruptors surrounding us today, our hormones are easily imbalanced. Here are 3 foods that can help!

Broccoli: 
This seemingly simple and ordinary cruciferous vegetable is actually in fact kind of magical. This guy contains a phytonutrient called indol-3-carbinol that has the power to decrease the amount of harmful estrogen metabolites formed in the body. This, my friends, is good news especially when it comes to estrogen-related cancers such as breast and cervical. You can read more about that here.

Broccoli also contains lignans (although flaxseed is the richest source). Lignans are compounds in plants that contain phytoestrogens which help to balance estrogen levels. Basically, lignans provide estrogenic support if there is low estrogen and if estrogen levels are too high they attach to estrogen receptors, reducing their activity and blocking their effect. Lignans also prevent xenoestrogens (unnatural, toxic estrogens found in things like plastics and pesticides - one big reason to buy organic!).

Coconut oil:
The reason why coconut oil is so helpful for hormone balance is simple: fats are necessary building blocks for hormone production. Without good quality fats (especially saturated fats) like coconut oil or grass-fed butter, our body lacks those building blocks to make them in the first place. A lot of people have a fear of consuming fat and that's why I'm mentioning the importance of things like coconut oil, which is very rich in fat but yet so so good for us. Remember this: the fat content our body is made up of about 97% saturated and monounsaturated fat, only about 3% is polyunsaturated fat. According to this article here:
"The body needs fats for rebuilding cells and hormone productions, but it has to use the building blocks we give it. When we give it a high concentration of polyunsaturated fats instead of the ratios it needs, it has no choice but to incorporate these fats into our cells during cell repair and creation." 
Maca: 
This is the most exciting food on the list! Mostly just because I feel absolutely amazing when I eat it. Maca is a root from peru, like a potato. Maca helps to balance hormones by working as an adaptogen by nourishing various parts of the body individually. 
According to this article:
"If you're producing too much of a particular hormone, maca will regulate the production downward. However, if you're producing too little, it'll regulate the production upward. 
Maca stimulates and nourishes the hypothalamus and pituitary glands which are the "master glands" of the body. These glands actually regulate the other glands, so when in balance they can bring balance to the adrenal, thyroid, pancreas, ovarian and testicular glands."
I add about 1/2 - 1 tsp of maca powder in my smoothie. I had to cut down how much I used because I added a gigantic spoonful to my smoothie last week and I was wired for like 8 hours.
Side note: I use a gelatinized form of maca powder, which just means that as opposed to raw maca, the starch has been removed, increasing the absorption and digestibility of it.

Meghan

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Fall Delight & a Pumpkin Breakfast Recipe


Last weekend was Thanksgiving here in Canada. I know, I'm a little late for this post. Life has been crazy. At least I'm thankful for a few things like the quiet, the clouds and the wind outside my window today; colourful fall leaves painting my surroundings as of late, and of course, who can't be thankful for the shenanigans that the universe presents us with?

In the spirit of fall (and last weeks Thanksgiving) I'd like to share a simple, warm and tasty pumpkin spice breakfast stew. This time of year I love having various pumpkin related dishes and always have some pumpkin puree on hand which has many more uses than you'd think. I even tried making grain-free pumpkin muffins the other night except they were awful.

Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Stew

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 an apple, diced (any apple you prefer)
  • 1 small ripe banana, sliced
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1-2 spoonfuls ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp pumpkin spice (ginger, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Method:
Warm coconut oil in pan over medium heat. Lightly sautee diced apples for 1-2 minutes, add banana and sautee for another minute. Stir in vanilla, spices and pumpkin puree and cook for about a minute.
Pour into bowl, mix in ground flaxseed and top off with chopped nuts or whichever else appeals. Delight!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Farm Fresh Goodies + Health Benefits


Hello wonderful world! I have been nothing short of a busy mess with events such as moving and painting and working and organizing and yawning comprising my days. I haven't had internet for over a week due to moving but here I am now, finally finding a moment to sit at my desk and write.

The most comforting and exciting part of my life right now would be this very month of September; swollen with new beginnings, fresh starts and red and orange leaves painting the treetops. The fall is my favourite time of year; its overcast skies, subtle chills and burgundy scarves are charming, enchanting and poetic. I feel a sense of peace and a peculiar freshness this time of year.

I wanted to share some of the goodies I picked up from an organic farm this afternoon (plus I thought I'd throw in some health benefits just for fun). I was originally planning on sharing some photos of my newly painted and decorated bedroom (the other most exciting part of my life right now) but that will have to wait. It certainly is cozy though.

Acorn squash: Butternut squash was unavailable at the farm (my favourite) so I opted for the acorn instead, a variety I have yet to experiment with. Acorn squash, along with those carrots I picked up, are abundant in carotenoids, including vitamin A, and antioxidants such as vitamin C. Whenever you see brightly coloured orange and yellow veggies, think of those magical carotenoid phytonutrients. Also, winter squashes are a great source of alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) which converts to EPA -- this is good news for our cardiovascular system!

Kale: I love kale. It's so darn versatile and nutritious. With any dark green leafy, think minerals, especially magnesium and calcium.

Onion: Onions = sulfur! An antioxidant and potent hormone & toxin detoxifier.

Eggs: Eggs are a fun whole food. Protein-rich, full of b-vitamins and good fats found in the yolk. In fact, the yolk is where a majority of the good stuff is found.

I hope you explore your nearest farm or farmer's market!

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

sun, water & breeze


I've been so busy lately I hardly have words, although, one thing that I can muster up is just how peculiar life really can be. I've been thinking lately about how our plans can change so suddenly, only to direct us onto another path that is just right. It's always right though, isn't it? Sometimes something terrible happens and it somehow transforms into the biggest of blessings. It's all meant to be.

Anywho, I was off for a few days so I spent this past weekend at a lake house which is always good fun. I always appreciate leaving the city behind and entering the quiet of still waters, warm sun and a seat in the breeze. Friday was spent meandering for 8 hours through Canada's Wonderland... a day fully equipped with excessive G-force and a headache. I do really enjoy roller coasters though, except I'd call it more of a love-hate relationship.

What fun!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Creamy Tahini Basil Salad Dressing Recipe




I wanted to share one of my favourite salad dressing recipes, inspired by one of my friends. I love basil terribly and find that it is what really gives this dressing its subtle punch of yummy herbalicious flavour. Mostly though, this dressing is great because it's only 4 ingredients! Yay for that! Who needs all the crazy ingredients found in typical pre-packaged dressings? Nobody.

I used to suck at whipping together a homemade salad dressing (or even salads in general). I just could never get the ingredients right and so I always felt like store bought dressings were necessary. But then I finally discovered the correct proportions and ratios of the oils and vinegars and now have tons of fun mixing up easy dressings in no time. The possibilities are endless my friends.

You will need:

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 tsp raw apple cider vinegar (I like Bragg's).
  • 1 tsp sesame tahini
  • 1 tsp organic dried/fresh basil
With a fork, whisk ingredients together in small bowl until creamy and drizzle over your favourite salad. Today I mixed it with organic mixed greens and shredded beets and carrots.

Enjoy,
Meg